Sinclair Brighton Series SB 3600T
From the Spring 2006 Audio Ideas Guide
Sinclair is a relatively new name in speakers, developed in Canada by Erikson Consumer, who also distribute Harman/Kardon, AKG, and several other brands, including Sirius satellite radio receivers and accessories and numerous iPod-related items. The speakers are designed in Canada, and manufactured in China to Sinclair’s exacting specifications.
The finish on our review pair was a Beech vinyl, but all subsequent production has been in high-gloss black, which will probably appeal to most buyers anyway, especially at this price level. That’s perhaps the first good news. But more on that below. What I really want to talk about is the technology brought to bear on this Sinclair speaker design.
The 3600T is an 8-ohm design with a rated sensitivity of 92 dB, quite efficient, and able to handle 250 watts of power (rms or peak not specified). Part of these latter specs are explained by the 3 6 1/2″ woofer/midrange drivers, which are crossed over to a 1″ “polymer Integrated Soft Dome” tweeter, according to the spec sheet. It is called a 3-way speaker, but crossover points are not provided, the 3 bass main drivers appearing to be identical, with a phase plug at centre, and a white cone.
I must say that the above paragraph embodies just about the best explanation of the function of a phase plug I’ve read, and its attendant additional benefits.
Another technology found in the Brighton and its sibling, the 2600T is called “DALtech: “Distortion occurs when a speaker resonates from the speaker’s own energy, discoloring the desired sound and resulting in reduced sound quality. DALtech, which stands for Dead As Lead Technology, eliminates this distortion with the placement of DALtech acoustic damping material to strategic parts of the speaker cabinet, capturing and absorbing the unwanted resonances for pure, untainted speaker reproduction.”
Now, I wouldn’t exactly call this breakthrough technology, but it is welcome in a speaker in the under $1000 price class, especially one this large, with lots of panel space to vibrate. A knuckle test shows the rear and top panels to be freer of resonance than the tall wide sides. I had to visit the web site to gain insight into the tweeter design: “The Sinclair Audio Polymer Integrated Soft Dome tweeter feature[s] strong magnets, ferrofluid and thermal protection to handle high power and maintain wonderful high frequency clarity. The tweeter sits in a faceplate that has been shaped and contoured to spread high frequencies horizontally throughout the listening area to guarantee great sound from anywhere in the room.”
And I suppose claims like this bring us right to the measurements of the 3600T. Looking at our on-axis pink noise sweep at top, we see very smooth and extended response that suggests a crossover to the tweeter somewhere between 1500 and 2500 Hz, probably closer to the former frequency, with a quite smooth transition.
Another signature is the mildly rising response between about 400 Hz and just above 1500, showing quite strong midband energy from the driver trio. If this is, in fact, a 3-way design, limiting the upper response of at least one of the woofers a little more might smoothen things out; it could also be that the combined response of the trio tends to add on axis in the lower mids, and the 2-way 2600T might be flatter.
Looking at the 4 measurements below, we see that the smoothest is either right on axis, or at 60 degrees off axis, the curves in the middle (15 and 30 degrees) tending to emphasize the mild hump more. Treble response slopes smoothly as we move off axis, but is strong to about 12 kHz until 60 degrees. At the opposite end of the spectrum, we find very extended and smooth bass, down about 3dB at 100 Hz relative to the slightly elevated 1 kHz, but very smooth going down, within a dB of that at 100 Hz at 40, and off just under 2 dB at 30 Hz, with appreciable response right down to 20 Hz. The smoothness and extension of these well engineered low frequency drivers is evident here, and very unusual in a speaker at this price.
Moving to the impedance/phase chart, we see very linear impedance, with a pair of typical ported peaks at 30 and 60 Hz, with quite astonishing smoothness across the rest of the range, hovering around 7 to 8 ohms. This will be a very easy load to drive, which, combined with its high sensitivity, will require only a few watts. But they should be good ones to achieve the quality and depth of bass of which these speakers are capable. The electrical phase also predicts easy, low distortion performance, being very linear across the band, particularly through the crossover region.
Listening notes suggest that the speakers sound best when toed in toward the listener where the frequency response is best balanced in the midrange and treble. In the lower octaves I heard “outstanding bass performance, rivaling the Quad, especially the deepest bass”, and “female voice shows the mid prominence”, or “orchestra sounds good, with sweet strings, the brass a bit blatty.”
The Brightons were very powerful with pop and folk music, and showed their strengths here, where most often depth and soundstage were not big issues. I listened to some vintage Sandy Denny with pleasure, as well as B, S & T, the Brightons portraying David Clayton- Thomas’s vocals as up front and powerful.
The SB 3600Ts are excellent high fidelity reproducers for under $1000, with the advantages of strong, accurate bass, good articulation, and a clarity that seldom comes at this price point. Looks and fit and finish are also exceptional.
Related Reviews:AIG Back Issues: Spring 2006
Waveform Mach Solo
Rotel RQ-970 BX and Anthem Pre 1P Phono Preamplifiers
Anthem Pre 2L Preamplifier
AIG High Resolution Recordings: Chuck Israels, The Bellingham Sessions Vols. 1 and 2
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